Durex, the world’s #1 sexual wellbeing brand1, today launches a global campaign designed to challenge some of the common myths and misconceptions around sexually transmitted infections, educate young people of the dangers they face from unprotected sex and to change behaviours around condom use.
Unforgettable Nights, from creative agency Havas London, comprises four films, which individually target males and females aged 16-21 and 21-30, plus digital activity, OOH, an online educational hub and substantial experiential activations across European festivals this summer.
It launches across all channels in Spain – where one in four adolescents will suffer from an STI before they finish high school2, 15-24-year-olds represent 50% of yearly STI diagnoses3, and cases of gonorrhea increased by 303%, and chlamydia by 654%, in five years4 – before rolling out in territories including the US, Germany, France, Italy and Portugal.
The fast-paced films are each narrated by a person reliving what at first seems an innocuous night out, before ending in unprotected sex – and the consequence of an STI diagnosis. They aim to draw attention to both the symptoms and to the lesser-known, potential long-term effects of an STI, including infertility in both men and women.
Familiar, relatable characters – your best mate’s sister, the girl who came back to town, a friend’s cousin, the hot guy from college – are used throughout the campaign to help debunk the commonly-held belief among young people that you can only contract an STI from a stranger, not someone you know.
Across the summer, on-pack promotions will offer the chance to win sold-out tickets to festivals including Sonar Festival and Arenal Sounds, while festivalgoers carrying a condom will be rewarded with perks including front row seats, exclusive artist meet-and-greets and VIP toilets. Durex will also be hosting a series of exclusive performances via its ‘Unforgettable Sessions’ throughout the year.
Ultimately, the campaign challenges young people to carry on making unforgettable memories for the right reasons, not the wrong ones, and features the strapline ‘You decide. Use a condom’. It was created by Nick Wavish and Patrick Comer, creatively directed by Lynsey Atkin and directed by Will Reid – the 23-year-old director’s first commercial – through CPWorks.
Domenika Praxmarer, Marketing Director at Durex, Spain, says: “We’re on a mission to liberate good sex – and good sex is safe sex. Keen to understand why STIs are on the rise5, we spoke to a real cross-section of young people and found some widespread misconceptions – including that trusting the person you sleep with is adequate ‘protection’ against STIs, as well as ignorance around the potential effects of contracting one. With that in mind, we want this campaign to educate, not scare – and empower people to take choices that make their nights unforgettable for all the right reasons.”
Lynsey Atkin, Creative Director at Havas London, adds: “STIs aren’t a pleasant topic, but they’re an important one in the age of invincibility. Rather than dramatise a generic warning that young people tend to tune out, we wanted to tell first-person stories from a place of relatable hindsight. The blur and flashbacks of a great night out eventually cut back to present day; where it’s more about regret than reminiscing. Because nothing feels much worse than remembering how it could have all gone differently – no matter how old you are.”
4 Centro Nacional de Epidemiología. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP). Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Resultados de la Vigilancia Epidemiología de las enfermedades transmisibles. Informe annual 2014. Madrid, 2016.
5 Centro Nacional de Epidemiología. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP). Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Resultados de la Vigilancia Epidemiología de las enfermedades transmisibles. Informe annual 2014. Madrid, 2016.